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The Last Illusion

(2014)
A novel by

 
 
From the critically acclaimed author of Sons and Other Flammable Objects comes a bold fabulist novel about a feral boy coming of age in New York, based on a legend from the medieval Persian epic The Shahnameh, the Book of Kings.

In a rural Iranian village, Zal's demented mother, horrified by the pallor of his skin and hair, becomes convinced she has given birth to a "White Demon." She hides him in a birdcage and there he lives for the next decade. Unfamiliar with human society, Zal eats birdseed and insects, squats atop the newspaper he sleeps upon, and communicates only in the squawks and shrieks of the other pet birds around him.

Freed from his cage and adopted by a behavioral analyst, Zal awakens in New York to the possibility of a future. An emotionally stunted and physically unfit adolescent, he strives to become human as he stumbles toward adulthood, but his persistent dreams in "bird" and his secret penchant for candied insects make real conformity impossible. As New York survives one potential disaster, Y2K, and begins hurtling toward another, 9/11, Zal finds himself in a cast of fellow outsiders. A friendship with a famous illusionist who claims - to the Bird Boy's delight - that he can fly and a romantic relationship with a disturbed artist who believes she is clairvoyant send Zal's life spiraling into chaos. Like the rest of New York, he is on a collision course with devastation.

In tones haunting yet humorous and unflinching yet reverential, The Last Illusion explores the powers of storytelling while investigating contemporary and classical magical thinking. Its potent lyricism, stylistic inventiveness, and examination of otherness can appeal to readers of Salman Rushdie and Helen Oyeyemi. A celebrated essayist and chronicler of the 9/11-era, Khakpour reimagines New York's most harrowing catastrophe with a dazzling homage to her beloved city.

Genre: Literary Fiction

Praise for this book

"Utterly original The Last Illusion weaves Iranian myth with contemporary American neurosis to create a bittersweet poetry all its own." - Claire Messud


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Used availability for Porochista Khakpour's The Last Illusion

Hardback Editions

December 2014 : UK Hardback
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Title: The Last Illusion
Author(s): Porochista Khakpour
ISBN: 1-4088-5857-6 / 978-1-4088-5857-8 (UK edition)
Publisher: Bloomsbury Circus
Availability: Amazon   Amazon UK   Amazon CA   


May 2014 : USA Hardback
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Title: The Last Illusion: A Novel
Author(s): Porochista Khakpour
ISBN: 1-62040-304-8 / 978-1-62040-304-4 (USA edition)
Publisher: Bloomsbury USA
Availability: Amazon   Amazon UK   Amazon CA   Amazon AU   


Paperback Editions

January 2016 : UK Paperback
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Title: The Last Illusion
Author(s): Porochista Khakpour
ISBN: 1-4088-5859-2 / 978-1-4088-5859-2 (UK edition)
Publisher: Bloomsbury Paperbacks
Availability: Amazon UK   Amazon CA   


March 2015 : USA Paperback
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Title: The Last Illusion
Author(s): Porochista Khakpour
ISBN: 1-62040-306-4 / 978-1-62040-306-8 (USA edition)
Publisher: Bloomsbury USA
Availability: Amazon   Amazon UK   Amazon CA   


September 2014 : UK Paperback
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Title: The Last Illusion
Author(s): Porochista Khakpour
ISBN: 1-4088-5858-4 / 978-1-4088-5858-5 (UK edition)
Publisher: Bloomsbury Circus
Availability: Amazon   Amazon UK   Amazon AU   


Audio Editions

May 2014 : USA Audio edition
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Title: The Last Illusion: A Novel
Author(s): Porochista Khakpour
Publisher: Audible Studios for Bloomsbury
Availability: Amazon   


May 2014 : Canada Audio edition
thumb

Title: The Last Illusion: A Novel
Author(s): Porochista Khakpour
Publisher: Audible Studios for Bloomsbury
Availability: Amazon CA   


May 2014 : UK Audio edition
thumb

Title: The Last Illusion: A Novel
Author(s): Porochista Khakpour
Publisher: Audible Studios for Bloomsbury
Availability: Amazon UK